U.S. Navy Ship Reaches Japan After Rescuing Two Women At Sea

WHITE BEACH NAVAL FACILITY, Japan (CBS News) — Two women from Hawaii who were adrift on a storm-battered sailboat in the Pacific for months set foot on solid ground Monday at a U.S. Navy base in southern Japan.

The USS Ashland rescued Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava and their two dogs about 900 miles southeast of Japan, and brought them to America’s White Beach Naval Facility after waiting for a typhoon to pass.

The two women, sporting USS Ashland knit shirts, were standing with the commanding officer and others high on the bridgeway as the ship docked. They later spoke to reporters on the flight deck before clearing customs and walking down metal stairs to the dock.

They had left Honolulu on May 3 aboard Appel’s 50-foot vessel, the Sea Nymph, for what was supposed to be an 18-day trip to Tahiti. Storms flooded the engine, destroying the starter, and damaged the mast so badly that they couldn’t generate enough wind power to stay on course, they said.

The two women tried to return and at one point in June were within 726 nautical miles of Oahu but couldn’t make it, Appel said.

“We knew we weren’t going to make it,” she said. “So that’s when we started making distress calls. We were hoping that one of our friends who likes to go deep sea fishing and taking people out might have gone past the 400-mile mark and might have cruised near where we would be.”

Read more and see video, here.